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May 30, 2014

Olathe East falls in Kansas 6A softball championship game

Washburn Rural ends Olathe East’s bid at perfect season by beating Hawks 9-2 in final.

Olathe East’s dreams of a Kansas Class 6A state softball three-peat evaporated before an out was recorded Friday at Blue Valley West High School.

During a rematch of the 2013 state championship game, Washburn Rural scored eight runs in the top of the first inning and cruised to a 9-2 victory.

“They came out smoking,” Hawks coach Jeff Hulse said. “They came out and their bats were hot and alive. They hit the best pitcher in the state, and we didn’t support her. We made a lot of miscues behind her.”

Olathe East, 24-1, which beat the Juniors Blues 5-3 in last season’s state title game, entered the final game unbeaten and in search of the program’s third perfect season.

Instead, a decidedly imperfect first inning — six hits and four errors — buried the Hawks, who hadn’t allowed more than five runs in a game this season, before they’d even batted.

Rural, 23-2, sent 12 batters to the plate, starting with back-to-back singles by Madison Roth and Jenny Metzger.

Savannah Moore’s grounder handcuffed Olathe East shortstop Liz Leonard for the inning’s first error, which loaded the bases.

Blues ace Kelsee Henry, who struck out six in five-plus innings for the win, followed with a two-run single.

Three batters later, Hawks third baseman Kaylee Byers couldn’t handle a high chopper from Mickenzie Toler. Two more singles followed, netting three more runs for Washburn Rural.

The last two runs scored when Metzger slapped a two-out RBI single to the hole at shortstop and another run scored on Leonard’s throwing error, the Hawks’ second throwing error of the inning.

Olathe East ace Allison Stewart, a two-time All-Metro and Kansas Gatorade player of the year, was chased after giving up consecutive singles that started the second inning. She allowed eight runs — two earned — in one inning-plus.

“The first inning was awful,” Stewart said. “They were hitting me ridiculous … but my career isn’t defined by this. It just (stinks) that it’s my senior year it happened.”

Rural tacked on another run in the sixth inning before Byers’ two-run sixth-inning double broke up the shutout.

Olathe South snags third place

Olathe South clubbed Olathe Northwest 11-1 during the third-place game.

The Falcons, 20-5, blew the game open with a four-run second inning. Samantha Bates’ two-run double was the big blow amidst three errors by the Ravens.

“Winning third place is really difficult, because you want to be playing for first,” said Lexie Storrer, who scattered eight hits in earning the win and added a two-run double. “Usually, teams are really down and it’s sad. We knew it would be tough for Olathe Northwest, so we hit them in the gut early.”

Olathe Northwest, 19-6, committed six errors, including one in Olathe South’s four-run seventh.

Semifinals rundown

Earlier Friday, Olathe East squeaked past rival Olathe South 2-1 in the semifinals.

Kylie Pfeiffer staked the Falcons to a 1-0 lead with her second-inning RBI double off the left-field fence.

Olathe South’s Storrer, who allowed four hits and struck out seven, made it stand up until Hayley McGhee blooped the game-winning, two-run single into shallow left field.

“I was pretty nervous, but my team had my back and told me ‘Just go up there, relax and have fun,’ ” McGhee said. “It wasn’t that good of a hit, but it had everybody screaming, so I was like, ‘All right, I’ll take it.’ ”

During the second semifinal, Washburn Rural rallied from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits for a 4-3 victory over Olathe Northwest. Katie Kukowski had two RBIs for Olathe Northwest, and Alexandra O’Bryon scored two runs.

Fort Scott takes third in 4A

Fort Scott defeated Louisburg 6-5 in the 4A Division I third-place game in Salina, Kansas. The Wildcats couldn’t complete a rally from a 6-1 deficit after three innings. Hannah Geneva picked up the complete-game win for Fort Scott, while Allyssa Griggs was the losing pitcher for Louisburg.

Louisburg lost 4-3 to McPherson in the semifinals earlier on Friday, with a Louisburg runner called out at home plate for the final out of the game.

Augusta won the 4A, Division I championship with an 11-5 win over McPherson.

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.

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